If you are 18 years old, you are old enough to sign a last will and testament in California. A common way to establish a will is to visit an attorney. The attorney obtains all needed information from you, including a list of your assets and your beneficiaries, and prepares a will incorporating them. Alternatively, a California resident can sit down and type out her own last testament. Whether you or your lawyer drafts your will, two people must witness your signature. A notary is not required.
California statutes contain a form will termed a "statutory will." The statutory will contains the bare outline of a last will and testament with spaces left blank to flesh out personal information. A person wishing to use the statutory form fills in personal information, including identification, assets and bequests. Like a prepared will, a statutory will requires two witnesses. The codes do not require that any of the signatures be notarized.
The probate code also authorizes a California resident to write out a will in longhand. A handwritten will, termed a holographic will, must be written, dated and signed by the maker. Although witnesses may sign a holographic will, none are required, nor must the signatures be notarized. A holographic will may be valid even if not dated as long as no ambiguity arises from the lack of date.
A fourth type of will authorized in California is an "international will," useful to those with property in other states or foreign countries. By executing a will under the International Wills Act, a person can make a will in California that will be accepted as valid in most other states and countries. Anyone can make a valid international will, no matter his nationality or residence, as long as he follows the rules set out in the probate code -- which are numerous. An international will must be signed by the maker in the presence of two witnesses plus a person authorized to act in connection with international wills, defined by the statute to include California attorneys. The authorized person must sign a certificate similar to a notary form -- the exact language of the certificate is set out in the statute -- attesting to the will signing.